Video: Developing the Next Generation Santa Cruz V10

Jan 19, 2023
by Mike Kazimer  

bigquotesThis is the eighth generation of V10, one of the winningest downhill bikes of all time. What you see here is still very much in the prototype stages.

This video series goes behind the scenes and shows the work that the team at Santa Cruz and the Syndicate put into this and other bikes. Episode one takes us back to just a few weeks after Greg Minnaar won the 2021 World Championship and went to work validating numerous test mules to decide the direction of the next bike. You might be surprised to hear that other suspension designs were tested before Greg settled on VPP.

The Syndicate will be racing this bike in 2023 and they will continue to develop it throughout the year. Future episodes will dive further into the process of making a world class downhill race bike.

When will it go on sale? No time soon. This is development in plain sight.
Santa Cruz Bikes



150 Comments

  • 106 3
 High pivot crusaders, rattle your sabres. This means war.
  • 4 0
 Hilarious
  • 17 3
 "Sayeth I beg thy pardon once more henceforth, I beseech ye! I beseech ye twice! layer of thy mother. Sayeth I beg thy pardon just one more lordforsaken time. En garde!"
  • 18 0
 Episode 2: Pinkbike reviews the V10.8
  • 9 6
 So according to Minnar the high pivot bike felt faster, was deeper in the travel, and felt great. But the big difference was that it was very fatiguing to ride even though the original design felt rough and rigid. Ok. Not what I expected to hear but sounds like maybe the low pivot bike was more responsive and it definitely had faster times on all areas.
  • 32 36
flag lkubica (Jan 19, 2023 at 23:51) (Below Threshold)
 @DoubleCrownAddict: The truth is the first rule of Sana Cruz is to make as boring and as similar bike range as possible, so the high pivot was doomed from the start Smile If they did v10 as high pivot they would also have to make all other bikes high pivot down to the Blur.
  • 1 7
flag bat-fastard (Jan 20, 2023 at 0:31) (Below Threshold)
 Not war it just wont be as good, been on high pivot for donkeys years myself, well before they started to make a comeback. They are just soo nice, my ebike conversion is even a craftworks enr...
  • 3 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: funnily enough, this was my experience with high pivot bikes as well
  • 17 1
 That’s not their sabres rattling...you’re just hearing their chains slapping against their high-pivot swingarms.
  • 7 2
 Some simple maths here -
26" normal pivot , normal bb height has a slightly rearward then vertical, then slightly forward rear wheel travel path.
27.5" has an axle 10mm higher thus to get same travel path pivot point needs to be 10mm higher than the 26".
29" has an axle 30mm higher thus to get same travel path pivot point needs to be 30mm higher than the 26".
This hasn't really had much talk about but might be another reason going back to 27.5 rear as well as getting bucked in ass by rear wheel for us shorter folk.
Me I've an old 26" mini mullet high pivot with next 3" of rearward travel, It pedals like crap, but makes braking bump bike parks feel like smooth tarmac for an old man who maybe turns pedals once or twice going into jumps.
  • 1 0
 @mininhi: surely...... spotted
  • 7 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: I hear that as Minnaar saying the high pivot FEELS really smooth and pushes less feedback through the rider’s feet, but takes more energy to ride quickly.

Even Commencal is doing something similar with the V5 Supreme with a much more vertical axle path.
  • 4 3
 @lkubica: I have no doubt they would have gone high pivot if they thought it would give them a better chance to win races. Having a one-off DH bike different from the rest of the lineup is actually a cool thing to do.

@russthedog: The lack of responsiveness seems to be the Achilles heel of many high pivot bikes.

@blensen: I agree but I wonder if some of it is due to them only probably riding the high pivot bike a few days and not really being used to them versus being on them full time. But I think the responsiveness is the key, so much time can be gained from manipulating the lightweight bike and using it's suspension to pop or hit things, pre-jump, or pump to go faster. The Cannondale high pivot bikes are more vertical and responsive also.
  • 2 6
flag DoubleCrownAddict (Jan 20, 2023 at 7:14) (Below Threshold)
 @bat-fastard: That's why high pivot makes total sense for 29ers and will probably be the future but you have to reproduce similar handling characteristics as the low pivot bike to have the responsiveness.
  • 2 0
 @blensen: the v5 has gone back to 27.5 on rear so pivot can be lower for same axle path as the 29er V4. Its hard to see but think initial travel is rearward then last half more vertical. Would need a graph as hard to see with all them links.
  • 3 2
 @DoubleCrownAddict: my craftworks does that with the i-track suspension similar to what intense is running, the idler moves as its on the linkage so you get some pedal support. Some of the 'high pivots" on 29 are only compensating for the high axle height, they are nothing like a high pivot on a 26" with upto 3" rearward travel.
  • 3 0
 @bat-fastard: I made that axle path graph by CAD modeling the linkage based on pivot points on an image underlay. The V4 is also 27.5 in the rear (except size XL) with an axle path going rearward about 29mm. V5 is much less maxing at about 5mm rearward. It's definitely not perfect, but it's close enough to give an idea.

It's a very similar-shaped path to the outgoing V10, but with more travel and a less progressive leverage curve (compared to the V10).
  • 2 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Its as simple as a high level athlete like Greg being so used to a particular platform that a change up results in more fatigue.

Id bet all my bikes that when he first got on a 29er he probably found it much harder to corner because of the wheelbase, but he had to get used to it to stay competitive.
  • 2 0
 @blensen: Does the V5 path come back forward at end of travel ? looks to me they are trying to get more a straight up and down path rather than a curve that single pivot would give.
  • 4 0
 @bat-fastard: Grains of salt and all that, but yes it's nearly 20mm forward at full bottom out. Here's an image link comparing Supreme V4, Supreme V5, and Santa Cruz V10.7.

ibb.co/mhBJsR9
  • 2 0
 @8a71b4: What kinda bikes do you have?
  • 2 0
 @blensen: cheers both the v10 and v5 are pretty vertical around sag point, first 6" of travel then its only at bottom out they come back forward for big impacts. The v10 will have chain growth with no idler but this gives pedal support when you need to pedal, I wonder if they are going to have a disengaging rear hub so no pedal kickback. Santacruz were always trying to make a dh bike that pedaled better.
The v4 only has about 10mm more rearward from the sag point so is trying to be vertical in the last 2/3 of travel instead of the start.
  • 2 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: 6:04 “There was not 1 section where it was quicker”
  • 1 0
 Step 1: fire that meddling SOB Rob Roskopp lol
  • 1 0
 @blensen: Ive got the v5. Axle path is rearward and more than 5mm, but way less than the v4.
  • 1 0
 @CSdirt: I believe you. I wish it was more standard for companies to release kinematic charts but I get it.
  • 1 0
 @blensen:

The other issue is that there is no way to know for the anti squat chart whether this is frame anti squat (as describe here www.pinkbike.com/news/definitions-what-is-anti-squat.html), or chain anti-squat (polebicycles.com/2015/06/16/what-is-anti-squat-and-pedal-kickback), or a combination of the both. Generally, you really only care about the chain anti squat, especially for DH bikes.

I got sent a anti-squat chart from a manufacturer for a high pivot bike, and it listed the anti squat at ~170% at the start of travel. This was clearly derived from the linkage software as frame anti squat.
  • 1 0
 @8a71b4: pinkbikes def is daft, and as we have seen you can win chainless on what I 'd call real DH tacks where you don't have to pedal once out of start hut. Infact the suspension worked better without the chain antisquat. To me a DH bike that pedals good is an enduro bike.
  • 85 33
 Cool. I wonder if there's been any development on the latest Advent Contest.
  • 24 0
 Or the Freeride Fiesta happening in Mexico
  • 8 0
 I agree, feels like every year I'm asking about it too.
Who are the winners?
  • 3 0
 @CSP: not us
  • 8 0
 Similar question regarding the comment of the year article that doesn’t seem to have been written/posted.
  • 1 11
flag 541freeride (Jan 20, 2023 at 10:09) (Below Threshold)
 More complaints about not receiving your "free" products that you paid nothing for other than a few seconds of time to click the the enter button. These comments have me in tears haha
  • 2 0
 @541freeride: We ARE paying with every click and comment.
  • 1 0
 @541freeride: If it were just something I personally didn't receive, I'd just send them a message.
  • 4 0
 Or the top comment of the year
  • 1 0
 @noapathy: so you won and you never received it? What are you trying to argue about here?
  • 57 7
 Does Neko get royalties for the video series idea?
  • 3 0
 Word up. “Development in plain sight”
  • 9 3
 Those types of videos have been around for years
  • 12 0
 Hats off to all the companies going forward that release these types of videos. In a sea of low effort worthless MTB content its good to see some of the engineering and testing behind what people buy.
  • 4 0
 Even testing at Windrock, maybe the same camera locations.
  • 38 8
 Cool, but the real question is when will there be a budget alloy version??? Or even better bring back the Driver 8 for all of us non-dentist types...
  • 18 0
 No, there won’t be. :/
  • 5 6
 Covid payments means everyone is a dentist now. At least that is what bike co revenue is saying.
  • 9 1
 No chance. Bikes are bourgeoisie.
  • 24 0
 new canfield jedi is the bike for you bro, not one of these big brands
  • 5 1
 This is where you start looking at brands like YT and Commencal. A new Commencal Clash frame without shock can be had for $1500us.
  • 2 0
 I'm calling $6500 frames
  • 6 0
 It’s Santa Cruz my man. Anything about that brand suggest budget version?
  • 9 0
 @TheR: Once apon a time radness came from this company that suited most wallets. What once was can be again.
  • 6 0
 @KolaPanda: Too late. I have an old NICOLAI ION. Sh!t's still current.
  • 1 0
 @BEERandSPOKES: I don’t know. They’ve always been kind of boutique and a little spendy compared to other brands. Not $10-12k spendy, though. It has become another stratosphere.
  • 3 0
 @dhrracer: new commencal supreme frame with shock about 4150euro. same price like v10
  • 1 0
 The only budget alloy versions of this bike are those mules
  • 17 1
 I would love a V10 with burrito storage. I don't race, just do hot laps shuttling and still get hungry...
  • 18 4
 Nice, is there anyway we can find out the advent calendar winners?
  • 4 1
 Check your email
  • 2 0
 sure......ask Brian Park for the context list in his phone!
  • 14 1
 The new V10 is yesterdays Crestline
  • 14 2
 Hey, why doesn’t this video auto play??? I missed that feature Razz
  • 2 0
 I muted my phone for the first time ever expecting autoplay again
  • 11 0
 LOLOL the wrong welding sounds added in HAHA. everything else super sweet though.
  • 8 0
 That tig sounded like a mig!
  • 1 0
 Oh yeah. I just thought they'd slowed it down or something. You're right though, it's totally mig sounds lol Maybe they were going for 'farmer tig' (stacked mig tacks)?
  • 17 7
 Santacruz should get the boy from cascade on board.... As he likes making santacruz bikes better with new links
  • 12 2
 Does he really…. Or is it all just hype…….???
  • 13 3
 I would be hard pressed to say he makes the bikes better. Different maybe, but not better.
  • 4 2
 @jomacba: Exactly, all this hype on Cascade... for some it may work.... SC has spent alot of time developing the links, so why change, I have never had the feeling I didn't like one of my SC VPP bikes
  • 2 0
 @christiaan: I got a push link for my MK2 V10 and it transformed the bike.
Not tried a cascade link yet for my current nomad but I would like too.
Development work is not all concept work, characterization testing and refinement, it's the commercial organisation and project managers saying, get to design verification ASAP unfortunately.
  • 10 0
 @christiaan: SC are making bikes to sell to a very wide range of people. Cascade are just allowing you to tailor a bike to your specific requirements.
  • 7 0
 @jomacba: cascade aren’t trying to make it better. The bikes will be designed to work for the widest range of riders, all that cascade offer are a set of linkages that help riders who may want something more progressive get what they are after, it’s a niche market not a mass market!
  • 3 1
 @christiaan: Its neither, its a tuning option.

Generally, what average trail riders like or prefer is vastly different than what DH or Enduro guys prefer. Former prefer ramp up - keep he suspension soft in the first part of travel for compliance, then ramp up for bottom out, pumping, e.t.c. The latter don't want ramp up, they want the suspension to predictably compress in response to big bumps, and as a result they generally run firmer spring rates/higher pressures to actually absorb all the impact. So cascade link gives the bikes a more trail like feel for the recreational crowd.

The benefit of the link over a shock air volume reduction is that even though it gets you about the same force curve, the shock shaft velocity with the cascade link is faster, which gives you more damping. That being said, you have to be a fairly competent rider to notice and take advantage of the damping - most people are not.
  • 1 0
 @8a71b4: I heard many Enduro and Dh guys are the same guys and want the same things from their bikes!
SC have just firmed up the start stroke on the latest V10, I am gonna predict they lose some small bump compliance when the rear is unweighted, wont make much difference against the clock, but may impact confidence.
I dont run a cascade link, but would want to try one, I run a coil on the rear of my Nomad, 50lb too heavy for me but only because I want more of a trail feel in the mid stroke for big mountain days and climbing!!!!
But I was always different and run my setup different to many, the pros.... some run soft, some run firmer, even at WC top 20 level they are all different and there is no magic formula at each level.
  • 10 0
 So in two generations, will it really be the v10 v10?
  • 3 0
 [v10]^2
  • 2 0
 Also the bike no longer has 254mm travel, so really they should just cut straight to V8 now.
  • 12 5
 "one of the most winningest"...good f 'in grief, guess I'm just an old grammarnazi...
  • 14 0
 I'm taking a beating today. Sorry, I'll do better. Well, I'll try...
  • 1 0
 Nope, just not a copywriter. Apple have been doing this for years. Just go to their website.
  • 8 0
 @noplacelikeloam: Funny you should say that, we have an opening for such a role...
  • 3 0
 @noplacelikeloam: I did, and there is a bit of word salad on their website. I'm sure the copywriters provided a decent starting point and then higher-level Apple marketing wanted to squeeze in their own buzzwords. Doesn't sound like Santa Cruz has a copywriter these days...
  • 3 0
 @seb-kemp: If pinkbike wasn't owned by Outside I'd probably apply! But they have been rather trigger-happy of late
  • 1 0
 @blackpudding: Santa Cruz, not Pinkbike.
  • 2 0
 @rockandride6: ahhhhhhhhhhhh. Yeah, um, something something pon holdings something
  • 17 9
 HIGH PIVOT HYPE: Debunked.
  • 3 3
 when using a dual-link suspension system.
  • 2 0
 @southoftheborder: please enlighten me
  • 7 0
 There's more than one way to get a job done. Based on what the design team was saying in the video, keeping the bike easy to pump and generate speed was high on the list of priorities. That's not something that's normally attributed to bikes with high/mid pivot placement.

Just because this brand and team weren't able to achieve their goals with that design doesn't mean it won't work for another brand/team. Particularly one that's not beholden to one linkage layout by their brand identity and marketing.

Look for a bike that has the ride you want, not one that uses a specific design.
  • 2 2
 @emptybox: what's the point of using a high pivot in a suspension system which already generates a constantly variable main pivot point?
  • 5 0
 @southoftheborder: Well firstly, high pivot probably would be a bit of a misnomer in this situation, since as you said the counter rotating twin link layout has a constantly variable instant center.

Bearing that in mind, similar to more conventional high and mid-pivot designs, equipping a VPP bike with an idler would allow them to use a much more rearward axle path without suffering the negative effects of chain growth as the suspension compresses.

From the rider's perspective this would reduce feedback through the pedals drastically (as noted by Greg), and would give a very free moving suspension feel. It would also in theory allow the rear wheel to move out of the way of impacts by moving rearwards, and give the bike a higher level of total stability at bottom out due to the lengthening of the wheelbase as the bike compresses.

So it seems like the issue here is really that Santa Cruz is looking to make a bike that excels at generating speed as opposed to one that excels at maintaining speed. Based on that, it seems pretty unlikely that a more rearward axle path and idler routed chain would work for their goals.
  • 1 1
 Taken in by the marketing tactic. Think a first proto is ever going to deliver the result of a 10 year + 8th iteration? The body language clearly gives it away
  • 2 0
 @edthesled: thanks for such a detailed explanation! I have to admit I was on the move when I wrote both my previous posts, so I went pretty scarce on my words. And while I considered the rearward axle path's benefits, I didn't do it as meticulously as you. As you said, seems like Santa Cruz wants their DH bike to be more easily accelerated. It makes sense when you think of more intricate tracks IMHO.
  • 6 1
 Test mules and using the engineer's parts bin, but seeing Greg spin a few laps on Sram Drivetrain.......
  • 2 0
 look again, greg's was on saint, as per usual.
  • 11 5
 the first $50k mtb....
  • 8 0
 Not really. Just goes to show how much R&D goes into making a top end World Cup level bike. The previous gen V10's went thru just as much development give or take. Peaking behind the curtain showing how much resources it takes. Not saying bikes are crazy $$ right now, but how much time/money/effort/resources it takes even before the first production bike is made.
  • 3 0
 @bman33: I thought the same thing, alot of money to develop that.
  • 2 0
 Oh I’m sure a S works will beat it there
  • 6 5
 @bman33:

The reason why it takes so much R&D is because there pretty much next to no engineers in the bike industry, just industrial designers. This is the same company that had Greg riding a comically small bike for a long while because they couldn't figure out how to make a properly sized one, even in 26 wheel size. So they basically have to go through the process of guessing, manufacturing, and testing, multiple times, which all drives up budget.

Meanwhile, if you look at dirt bike manufacturers that actually have engineers that can do actual math, early 2000s dirt bikes look very much like modern dirt bikes, with roughly same geo and suspension. Its because they took the time and actually figured out how a bike needs to be laid out for certain performance, and then micro optimized on all the individual components.
  • 6 0
 @8a71b4: I wouldn't say that's the case. When the rider is ~5x the mass of the vehicle minute changes are going to be more apparent than when the rider weight is between 1:1 to 1:2 ratio to vehicle mass. That's not even really considering human power source vs an ICE engine.

From an vehicle dynamics POV (which is what I think you're getting at) a motorcycle is actually easier than a MTB in a lot of ways.
  • 3 1
 @loudv8noises

Its still a problem that can be solved quite efficiently with engineering rather than guessing. If you wanna capture all the dynamics of the rider, all you need to do is to is just instrument the bike with load cells in the contact points, and accelerometers/gyros on the bike and the rider, and you can back out how the rider is moving around on the bike.

Likewise, it shouldn't take multiple years to make a 29er dh bike. For one, there are already a lot of constraints already that essentially limit how slack and long can you go, namely the equipment that you can spec on the frame like forks as well as the actual size of the track. Start with the extreme and let the rider test that, with full data collection. I mean, Yoan literally piloted the Grim Donut faster down the track than a competitive enduro bike. Then between the current bike, and the extreme, you can start to gain a picture of what the rider wants.

But none of this is going to happen, because there is enough income from the idiots that spend massive amounts of money for premium bikes that don't ride any better than cheap ones, and the way to keep that income coming is through marketing and vanity, not actually making a good product.
  • 2 0
 @8a71b4: I’m looking forward to trying your bike since it will inevitably be much better than everything else currently on the market.
  • 1 0
 @loudv8noises: No need. Modern bikes are properly long and slack. My point is they should have been like this a decade ago.
  • 2 0
 @8a71b4: moto frames are one size fits all regardless of 5'4" or 6'-2". So there is that
  • 2 1
 @bman33: There are really 2 main sizes out side of race specific things, the sub size that the 85 2 stroke and 125-150 4 stroke bikes come in, and the full size. Many shorter people prefer to trail ride the former.

My point is that Moto industry does actual engineering. There is a very well known book, "Motorcycle Dynamics" by Vittore Cossalter that is very math intensive that describes all the dynamics of the motorcycle, along with some equations taking account rider positioning, especially in cornering. No such book exists for MTB, because nobody does the math. I would bet that quite a few people in the industry still think that the reason one can balance a bicycle in motion because of the gyroscopic effects of the wheels.
  • 5 1
 Beyond linkages what do they plan on developing further? Looks like its showroom ready.
  • 1 0
 They'll be tweaking linkages and carbon stiffness, plus tuning the bike for shock tunes from the future.
  • 6 1
 Slick looking frame!
  • 4 0
 No glove box? Pfff guess I’ll wait for the 9th gen…
  • 2 0
 The V10.7 is an absolutely brilliant bike. I'm not 100% stoked on the seat mast, but I can guarantee the bike won't be a disappointment.
  • 4 0
 Shimano needs to hurry up that new Saint Line...
  • 2 0
 Because I like to geek over new things I agree. But they have no reason to, current saint is so good.
  • 2 1
 Following SC development path of their other bikes it will look the same as the current one, have a leaky down tube storage box and cost considerably more than the ‘old’ version
  • 4 0
 If "winningest" came up in Scrabble I would definitely challenge that shit
  • 1 0
 Same weird stuff going on with us Americans too haha... we have color, favorite, aluminum, and a few others that I can’t name on the spot but still it’s weird how many words we have changed over time
  • 3 0
 reminds me of an Intense M9
  • 2 0
 Neko basically came to the same conclusion and is on a normal pivot bike too.
  • 2 0
 This was rad. Thanks for the peek behind the curtain.
  • 1 0
 I just got the 2022 model V10, now I am going to be riding a 1year old relic for 2023.
  • 1 0
 This is why I ride Santa Cruz. I’m an ex MX racer that rides as if there are no girls watching.
  • 1 1
 The alloy mule looks like an Intense M9, and for some reason the carbon one reminds me of a RM Flatline.
  • 2 1
 and this is why they kept Greg around!!!!
  • 1 0
 Idk man, SC have lost their skate appeal
  • 1 0
 This series is gonna be sick! \m/
  • 1 0
 They're going to call it the CRESTLINE
  • 3 2
 IG saw it first
  • 1 0
 Longer TT options please
  • 1 0
 F-G,whatevs.
  • 1 0
 So excited right now
  • 2 2
 Just make an ebike version.
  • 1 1
 Yes, with the original 10" of travel! Traction monster, I would love it on the climbs and downhills.
  • 5 7
 Well, it's kinda ugly.
  • 2 0
 That's what somebody said about something.
  • 4 6
 What's aluminum?
  • 11 0
 It's aluminium with one less letter
  • 5 0
 @gnarnaimo: Yes, lighter than the UK stuff.
  • 3 0
 @suspended-flesh: exactly one "i" lighter
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